In southern Ukraine, the scars of Russia’s incursion are everywhere.
Dmytro Pletenchuk, a public affairs officer for the Mykolaiv regional government, was on his way to work when the government’s headquarters was hit.
“This building is like a monument from Russia’s world,” Pletenchuk told Euronews while standing in the remains of his office.
Some 36 people were killed in the building. On the same day, Mykolaiv’s airport was also hit.
Pletenchuk says this is part of a larger strategy. “They want to rebuild the USSR,” he said.
“And without Ukraine… [it] is impossible. And they can’t live in freedom. But we can. And that’s what we want. And we fight.”
He added that he wanted all Russian soldiers out of the region: “From the Donbas, from Crimea… Crimea is Ukraine.”
But to achieve that, Ukrainian troops will have to recapture Kherson – one of Ukraine’s most important ports and the first city to be taken by Russia.
“Kherson is very important. It is the only land route to Crimea, the first one,” said Nesquik, commander of the battalion fighting for Kherson.
“Drinking water also comes from there to Crimea through the Dnieper River”.
Nesquik was born in Kherson. The 26-year-old is now in charge of 900 men currently trying to recapture his birthplace.
And news of Ukrainian troop advances in the north is a boost to morale in the region.
“I think we will recapture it by autumn,” Nesquik told Euronews.
“Russia has a very strong border with us and suffers losses everywhere; they place a great emphasis on the eastern part of Ukraine, the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
“Kherson is not a problem to liberate. You need to remember that there are regions where it will be much more difficult [for us] to work.”